Film: Sangu Chakkaram
Cast: Gheetha, Dhilip Subbarayan, Pradeep Nair
The year is coming to a close but looks like the horror season won’t end. Sangu Chakkaram follows the age-old template used by umpteen Hollywood films which were later adapted by Tamil cinema: A group of friends stranded at a haunted house. But what sets Sangu Chakkaram apart from the countless (and also mindless) ghost films that’ve haunted the screens this year is, this film is made for kids — starring kids. But that doesn’t really change its dynamic.
So apart from ghosts, what else are kids afraid of? Kidnappers, who we get in the form of Aagayam (the acting debut of stunt director Dhilip Subbarayan), who tries to get a big ransom from the kids’ parents. Wearing a ‘Money is ultimate’ T-shirt, his character, after underwhelming beginnings, ends up becoming the most enjoyable one.
His usual line ‘Daaru Damaaru’ is addictive and the kids who were watching the film kept repeating it. Apart from him, Gheetha and Monica do a decent job as Angayarkanni and Malar, the ghostly mother-daughter duo. The rest of the kids, apart from Tamil (Nishesh), don’t have much to offer. Though touted to be a kids entertainer, there isn’t much here that will entertain them either. The child artistes could’ve worked on the dialogues, as the slow and draggy pronunciation ends up reminding you of the lines in the Tamil dubbed version of Dora the Explorer.
Sangu Chakkaram offers nothing radical in terms of story, but there are certain redemptive moments. Though it starts off seriously, the humour takes the front seat after a while, with the ghosts getting scared of the children. Scenes like the one in which the children ask the ghost what language they converse in with other ghosts and why they try to kill humans who’ll anyway end up ghosts, are hilarious. Some of the dialogues too are brilliant.
But on the flip side, the film feels excruciatingly long, thanks to the run-of-the-mill content. It also tries and fails to get serious when it preaches about the evils of money and caste. The film was promoted as one that doesn’t have a flashback, but it could’ve actually been a good idea to have one, considering we’re left clueless about why the two ghosts would haunt the house. The ghosts, especially the delightful little Malar, reminded me of Casper the friendly ghost. Visual effects and makeup could’ve been much better. The haunted palace looks too artificial and almost like those seen in Tamil serials. Also, after Chandramukhi and Aranmanai franchise, I think we should give a break to palaces being ghost hideouts.
After a while, with the film nowhere close to the climax, they introduce a completely unwanted couple into the equation, and to top it off, two exorcists — one who looks like Keanu Reeves from the Matrix and the other, a cheap imitation of Raiden from Mortal Kombat. And oh, there’s also this priest who stands outside the palace for a long time praying for something to happen. Though his ‘holy lines’ sounded like gibberish, I couldn’t help but be reminded of the kiliki language from Baahubali. There’s even a scene where this local priest and our bargain Keanu Reeves have a face off with different musical instruments. The priest comes out victorious thanks to blowing a sangu — probably a reference to the title or maybe a reference to those of us who expected a better film.